Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. –James 1:22
Each week as I prepare a message for Sunday morning, I strive to present God’s word in a way that makes us think. I realize that many of you have heard tens of thousands of sermons in your lifetime. You’ve heard Christmas and Easter preached from every possible angle. Lots of sermons on Romans and Philippians. I hope to give you an angle or insight into God’s word that is a little different or a variation that you haven’t heard. I’m aiming for something that makes you think.
However, I believe there is an even deeper goal than this. The point isn’t just to listen to the Bible and do some thinking about it. The greater goal is to respond to God’s word with action. Whether you’re reading the Bible at home or listening to a message on Sunday morning, I invite you to ask the following questions: What is God asking me to do differently in this passage? How can I respond to this truth with a concrete action? How does this affirm something I’m already doing in my life? James concludes this passage with these words: “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.”